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Medical Marijuana Laws

The Highs and Lows of Medical Marijuana Laws

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 The Highs and Lows of Medical Marijuana Laws

Medical marijuana laws are being adopted by states at such a quick pace that employers may be struggling to keep their drug-testing policies up-to-date – especially employers with multistate operations. The rapidly changing landscape of medical marijuana laws should prompt employers to review drug-testing policies and procedures to ensure conformity.

Listen to expert and attorney, Jim Reidy, from Sheehan Phinney, discuss current and future drug laws on the HR Break Room podcast, “A New Leaf on Drug Policy Screening Policies: Time for a change?”

States with Strong Employment Protections

Some states that have passed medical marijuana laws also have passed extensive employment protections for individuals holding “qualified patient” registration cards. Arizona, Delaware and Minnesota prohibit employers from discriminating against a person in hiring, termination or imposing any term or condition of employment based upon:

  • a person’s status as a card holder
  • a qualified patient’s positive drug test for marijuana components or metabolites

Exceptions to this rule do exist if:

  • the employer would lose federal money or licensure due to federal law;
  • the employee would be employed in a “safety-sensitive” position; or
  • the employee used, possessed or was impaired by marijuana at work

 

Weaker Employment Protections

Other states in which marijuana is legal for medical purposes have passed some employment protections, but which are less stringent. In states such as Colorado, Illinois and Pennsylvania, an employer cannot discriminate based on a qualified patient’s card status, but generally, a positive drug test would be grounds for discipline or termination. Many other states, generally states where marijuana remains completely illegal, have no employment protections at all for qualified patients. States such as Oklahoma, Texas, and Ohio allow employers to have a zero-tolerance drug testing policy, regardless of whether an employee is a qualified patient in another state.

 

Reasonable Accommodations

Another consideration for employers is whether to allow an employee’s medical marijuana use as a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Courts have been relatively clear that the ADA does not protect individuals who use marijuana for medical purposes or require accommodation for such use. This is largely because marijuana is still a federally illicit drug. However, New York has its own state disability accommodation law that may require New York employers to reasonably accommodate “qualified patients” of medical marijuana.

Similarly, the Nevada legislature passed a bill amending its existing medical marijuana statute to expressly require employers to attempt to make reasonable accommodations for the medical needs of an employee who uses marijuana, if the employee holds a valid registry identification card. Employers would not be required to provide a reasonable accommodation if it would:

  • pose a danger to persons or property;
  • impose an undue hardship on the employer; or
  • prohibit the employee from fulfilling any or all of his or her job responsibilities.

 

The complicated nature of the state and federal regulations relating to employee marijuana use creates difficulties drafting and enforcing consistent drug-testing policies and procedures. It is important for employers to continually review their existing drug-testing policies to ensure any new developments in the medical marijuana landscape have not outdated its policy.

Disclaimer: This blog includes general information about legal issues and developments in the law. Such materials are for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments. These informational materials are not intended, and must not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. You need to contact a lawyer licensed in your jurisdiction for advice on specific legal problems.

 


Jason Hines

by Jason Hines


Author Bio: Jason Hines is a Paycom compliance attorney. With more than five years’ experience in the legal field, he monitors developments in human resource laws, rules and regulations to ensure any changes are promptly updated in Paycom’s system for our clients. Previously, he was an attorney at the Oklahoma City law firm Elias, Books, Brown & Nelson. Hines earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Central Oklahoma and his juris doctor degree from the Oklahoma City University School of Law, where he graduated cum laude. A fan of the Oklahoma City Thunder, Hines also enjoys exploring the great outdoors with his wife and daughter.

American History

5 Leadership Lessons HR Can Learn from American History

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5 Leadership Lessons HR Can Learn from American History

Here at Paycom we love green, but on the heels of the 4th of July, we thought it would be appropriate to stay with the Red, White and Blue. The story of how we earned our freedom is a vast and important one, and is still relateable, especially in the office. Here are five specific leadership examples that translate well the HR department and your organization as a whole.

The below article was originally posted on February 24, 2017 under the title 5 Leadership Lessons From Crossing the Delaware

Several years ago in a meeting, we were asked to share the name of the best leadership book we’d read in the past year. My colleagues suggested books by Maxwell, Gladwell and Collins, yet my mind went directly to the historical account of General George Washington’s crossing of the Delaware River in 1776, depicted in “To Try Men’s Souls” by Newt Gingrich.

You may remember the story from high school history class. In December 1776 during the Revolutionary War, the Continental Army was demoralized and on the run. Christmas night, while camped along the Delaware River, Washington realized that their only chance to win – or even to survive – was to attack the British at Trenton.

Register today for the July 11, 2017 webinar: 5 Leadership Lesson HR Can Learn from American History 

It wasn’t evident at the time of course, but historians now consider the events of that evening and the next morning as the turning point of the Revolutionary War. As we study Washington’s decision-making during these extraordinary circumstances, five leadership lessons emerge.

1. Heroes Exist in the Unlikeliest of Places

Henry Knox served as Washington’s chief artillery officer, and before the war, Knox managed a bookstore.

According the Washington, Knox’s efforts made the attack on Trenton possible. As a devastating blizzard engulfed the area late on Christmas night, the river seemed impassable. Knox coordinated efforts to load the army’s few remaining artillery pieces onto the creaky flatboats and to navigate the ice-choked river. Once across, it was his leadership that allowed men to transport heavy machinery up and down the icy hills in the midst of an historic blizzard.

Washington later said he was stunned by Knox’s confidence and impressed by the routine, matter-of-fact way Knox explained his plan. He had horses drag artillery pieces up frozen hills in the middle of a snowstorm, in the dark, using malnourished and barefoot soldiers, yet Knox made it seem like an ordinary, routine event.

Like eagles, leaders don’t flock together. You most often find them one at a time, and sometimes a bookseller helps you win a war.

2. Hold Steady in the Face of the “But Sirs”

Once Washington made his decision to cross the Delaware and attack, he never wavered. As soon as the order was disseminated through the ranks, leaders were hit with a barrage of “but sirs.”

• “But sir, the river is filled with ice.”
• “But sir, these boats weren’t designed to transport cannons.”
• “But sir, my men haven’t eaten in three days, they won’t survive the march.”
• “But sir, the British are well-rested and well-fed, what chance do we have in battle?”

But sir, but sir, but sir. As a leader, how often do you deal with resistance to a tough decision? Washington responded by increasing the level of communication so that everyone had better understanding of his decisions, as illustrated in this brief aside to his officers:

“If we do not win soon, there will be no army left. When there is no army left, the rebellion will be over. When the rebellion is over, we will all be hung. Therefore we have little to lose.”

3. Frequently Communicating Vision is a Necessity

Washington didn’t say it just once, he repeated himself over and over, up and down the line of soldiers. The vision: Cross the river, move the artillery and cross Jacob’s Creek. In twelve hours.

Did everyone agree with his plan? Hardly. Did they execute the mission? Definitely.

While the United States of America is more than two centuries old, lessons still can be learned from its Founding Fathers. To learn more, register today for the July 11, 2017 webinar: 5 Leadership Lesson HR Can Learn from American History 

4. Be Visible

A Continental soldier’s diary recounts that for every mile he covered, General Washington probably covered twelve. Riding back and forth, checking on the front line, then crossing the creek to check on the men at the back of the line, then back to the front again. The soldiers knew their leader was invested and that he was fighting right by their side.

A good rule-of-thumb for leaders: the tougher the mission, the higher the visibility.

5. Leaders Aren’t Called to Do Their Best

Washington knew this leadership secret better than anyone. He knew that most of his men’s enlistments expired in a week and that he was outmanned and outgunned. He knew that their only chance of survival was to attack and win at Trenton. Everything else was irrelevant.

It didn’t matter that the river was filled with ice, or that half his men had no shoes and hadn’t eaten in days. The boat boarding passcode that night was “Victory or Death.” This is what Washington believed and it was how he led his army. He knew that as leaders, we are not called to do our best – we are called to do what is required.

Washington’s army went on to win the battle at Trenton, and to win again at Princeton. The momentum of those wins turned the war in their favor, eventually leading to American independence fifteen years later. And I believe the momentum truly began with the perseverance of one man, directing his forces to victory through a blinding snowstorm.

Nearly two hundred fifty years later, General Washington’s leadership lessons are as valuable today as they were that snowy night on the banks of the Delaware River.

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Posted in Blog, Featured, Leadership

Jim Quillen

by Jim Quillen


Author Bio: As director of tax at Paycom, Jim Quillen is responsible for ensuring payments and returns are filed timely and accurately, and for eliminating tax issues with the potential to negatively impact clients. Quillen, a CPA by training, has worked in many fields during his career, including finance, auditing, recruiting, sales, business development and software implementation. Prior to his current role, Quillen has served Paycom as the director of business intelligence, director of new client implementation and director of recruiting.

Self-Service Software

How to Promote Engagement and Efficiency with Employee Self-Service Software

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How to Promote Engagement and Efficiency with Employee Self-Service Software

Employee self-service software often is adopted as a way to improve efficiency within an organization, especially as it pertains to the responsibilities of your HR department. While that’s a common and effective use, organizations also can use robust self-service software as a way to improve employee engagement and productivity.

A recent white paper by Paycom and HR.com illustrates survey results from over 700 HR professionals (representing companies with anywhere from 50 to 20,000 employees) on how they use employee self-service software, and where there is room for improvement. You can download the entire white paper, or keep reading to find out what self-service software means for your efficiency and engagement.

Gains in Efficiency

Employees who use self-service software can alleviate some tedious tasks, freeing up your HR department to do more strategic and mission-critical work (rather than keying in information, often multiple times). Duplicating employee data (especially by hand) is an ineffective use of time, and can introduce errors.

Employee-entered data actually can improve the accuracy of the information you have on file for your workforce. Over 80% of HR professionals surveyed agree that employee accountability for data leads to a higher likelihood of accuracy for that data. In turn, that improved accuracy can help reduce compliance risk.

Gains in Employee Engagement

According to our research, what employees want most out of their self-service software is ease of use, by a large margin of 47%. Single sign on functionality (the ability to use one login for their employee self-service software and for other platforms) was the next most important.

Why does this matter? User-friendly self-service software with a single login can improve employee engagement (more on why that matters below) and also can increase the likelihood that they will complete the forms, training or information that your leadership or your HR department has requested.

What This Means for Your Bottom Line

Increasing efficiency with employee self-service software can help you increase your profit margin by saving time and lowering material costs. Improving employee engagement by selecting a user-friendly self-service software can have significant returns on your investment as well.

Employee engagement can help you reduce turnover, safety incidents and absenteeism. According to a recent Gallup survey, teams that score in the top quartile of engagement exhibit 21% higher productivity and 22% higher profitability that compared to teams in the bottom quartile.

In addition to improving the work environment and production, high employee engagement can help you save on the substantial cost of replacing key personnel. Bloomberg’s Bureau of National Affairs estimates that employee turnover costs U.S. businesses $11 billion per year, and highly educated and experienced employees tend to be the most expensive to replace.

If you’re considering adopting employee self-service software (or adding on to your current platform), be sure to take your employee experience into account, as well as the gains in efficiency that could be made. Choosing to prioritize the elements that matter most to your staff can help you increase employee engagement, boost productivity and maintain an efficient workflow.

Read more about the untapped benefits of employee self-service software in our white paper, The Role of Self-Service Software: Get the Most Out of a Crucial Technology.

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Posted in Blog, Document Management, Employee Engagement, Featured, HR Management, Learning Management, Talent Management, What Employees Want

Lauren Rogers

by Lauren Rogers


Author Bio: As a communications specialist at Paycom, Lauren Rogers keeps employees abreast of company news and events, and provides insight to industry leaders regarding issues affecting human capital management. With experience in marketing and communications, Lauren has written blogs and other materials for a variety of businesses and nonprofits. Outside the office, she enjoys gardening, testing new recipes and sipping something caffeinated with her nose in a book.

Employee Self-Service Software

Missing out on Key Functions of Your Employee Self-Service Software?

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Missing out on Key Functions of Your Employee Self-Service Software?

If you’re like most company leaders, you’re probably making use of employee self-service software to a certain extent. In fact, in a joint study by Paycom and HR.com, 88.5 percent of companies surveyed used self-service tools. And about 87 percent of these organizations considered self-service software to be the most efficient way to provide employees with payroll and HR information.

You can discover more of the results of this survey in our whitepaper, The Role of Self-Service Software: Get the Most out of a Crucial Technology.

However, we also found that a large number of the organizations surveyed aren’t getting as much out of their self-service software as they potentially could. They are leaving functionality on the table and missing out on the opportunity to streamline their training, ensure that forms are efficiently completed and securely stored, and improve the accuracy of information entered by their employees.

Streamlined Employee Training

Companies that use their employee self-service software as a platform for training are able to reach a large number of employees with one streamlined training effort, rather than scheduling several training meetings to accommodate staff schedules, wasting time and losing productivity.

Incorporating training videos and slideshows into existing employee self-service software allows your employees to complete trainings when their schedules allow.

In our research, companies are using self-service technology to serve many functions (some of the most common include accessing payroll information and enrolling in benefits). Unfortunately, only 39 percent of companies we surveyed that are already utilizing self-service software are taking advantage of employee training opportunities through that software. Most organizations are missing out on this opportunity.

Secure, Efficiently Completed Forms

The forms that your employees are already filling out can be integrated with an existing self-service software to make it easier for them to complete and ensure that you can store the forms securely and efficiently. We found that this is another area where many organizations have room for improvement.

Of the organizations we surveyed that used self-service software, HR entered 50 percent or less of employee information in only 40 percent of those organizations. In 29 percent of surveyed companies with self-service software, HR was still entering 90 percent or more employee data.

Having a way for your employees to fill out performance reviews, feedback surveys and other forms within employee self-service software allows them to complete the forms on their own time, allowing your HR department to focus on more mission-critical projects. It can also cut down on paper storage and allow anyone who needs access to the completed forms to find them in one secure location online.

Accurate Employee Information

One surprising finding from our study was that while 87 percent of respondents said that employee self-service software was helpful, HR still enters in over 50 percent of employee data for 60 percent of surveyed companies using self-service software. The most common barrier that kept organizations from having a majority of information entered by their employees (instead of their HR department) was a concern over the accuracy of employee-entered data.

That’s a valid concern, but from our research, employee-entered data has the opportunity to improve information accuracy. Over 80 percent of organizations we surveyed determined that employee-entered data helps hold employees accountable for the accuracy of the data—and 51 percent agreed that employee accountability for that accuracy reduces compliance risk.

In addition to a reduced compliance risk, having employees enter their own information can free up your HR department to do more strategic work. In fact, improving your company’s usage of employee self-service software can help your HR department save up to 10 hours per week!

Learn how other companies of all sizes are making use of their employee self-service software and what can be gained from these and other underutilized capabilities in our whitepaper, The Role of Self-Service Software: Get the Most out of a Crucial Technology.

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Posted in Blog, Document Management, Featured, HR Management, Learning Management, Payroll

Lauren Rogers

by Lauren Rogers


Author Bio: As a communications specialist at Paycom, Lauren Rogers keeps employees abreast of company news and events, and provides insight to industry leaders regarding issues affecting human capital management. With experience in marketing and communications, Lauren has written blogs and other materials for a variety of businesses and nonprofits. Outside the office, she enjoys gardening, testing new recipes and sipping something caffeinated with her nose in a book.

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